Adolescent girls in Rajasthan benefit from a government scheme because of our Community Correspondent (CC) Sunita’s reporting.
Since Sunita has a press card, she receives a book called Sujak every month which describes the various government schemes in place. She was perusing through this and found out about the Kishori Balika Scheme, which is part of a larger government programme aimed at delaying the age of marriage, reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancies and maternal deaths, and generally improving the nutrition and health of adolescent girls. In Rajasthan, where child marriage is quite common, the scheme is especially important. Sunita decided to find out whether girls from the age of 10-19 in her neighbourhood were actually receiving what they were meant to be under this scheme: iron tablets, and information about sexual health, menstruation and pregnancy.
As she shows in her video, the majority of the people she interviewed during her survey had heard the name of the scheme before, but didn’t know anything more about it and had definitely not received any of its provisions. Sometime back the assistants from their Anganwadi centre (government-run pre-school) had come around to find out how many adolescent girls and
pregnant women there were. When Sunita went to there to find out why they hadn’t followed up, they refused to give her an interview and said that they had not received any tablets or instructions.
After her visit, the girls and women she had interviewed and shot on camera went to the Anganwadi centre to complain. “They came two weeks later, the women from the Anganwadi. They went to all the homes and gave out 30 iron tablets to all the teenage girls. They also called them for a training…they taught them about periods and how to be careful during pregnancy,” says Sunita. “I feel very happy because I was able to help so many women. I want to continue making them aware of things they should be getting.”